Universal

The Cast Of 'Unbroken' Shares Their Near-Death Experiences

Garrett Hedlund almost died on a boogie board.

With reporting by Josh Horowitz

In the new film "Unbroken," it's honestly pretty surprising that the main character wasn't, well, broken.

Based on the true story of Olympian Louis Zamperini, whose harrowing experience as a soldier and prisoner of war during World War II is terrifying, to say the least, "Unbroken" is full of near-death moments. Whether we're talking about getting shot down in a plane, surviving for weeks on a raft in the open sea or enduring brutal treatment in a Japanese internment camp, there were chances aplenty for Zamperini (played in the film by Jack O'Connell) to bite it.

At a press day ahead of the film's December 25 release, MTV News caught up with the stars of the movie and heard about their own near-death experiences -- whether it was the ocean, humanitarian work, or other mysterious circumstances, everyone has had their moment.

"I've had a few," Garrett Hedlund, who plays a tough American POW, said. "I think all of them have involved the ocean, one, embarrassingly enough in Los Angeles around county line with a boogie board and size 9 flippers... I remember being in the washing machine for about 100 yards and finally being able to stand up on my knees."

No matter how they thought they were about to go out, however, director Angelina Jolie says that Zamperini's secret to survival is a good one: never think that you're about to die.

"That's the secret, it is, it is the secret," she said. "There is something to your belief to be able to pull yourself through."

"Unbroken" hits theaters December 25.